The Chicago Blackhawks have two days off before playing three games against the Central Division this week. Playing the Blues and Predators all week means defensive traps and usually very good goalies for some tough and some pretty boring hockey to watch.
The Blackhawks after two days off host the St Louis Blues at the United Center. The Blues made a pretty big move to bolster their blue line Monday night by trading for Jay Bouwmeester. The Blues along with almost the entire Central Division have added a piece to their defensive core heading to the stretch run for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blues are currently in the 8th spot in the Western Conference but there is no wiggle room at all. Jaroslav Halak was injured and left the ice and didn’t return in Monday nights contest so it is unlikely that the Hawks will seem him in net on Thursday night, but Brian Elliott stepped in to secure the win for the Blues who will more than likely be the starter in Chicago. The Blues do a lot of chirping so look for a defensive chippy game at the UC.
The week finishes with back to back home and home games with the Nashville Predators. Saturday night the Hawks travel to Nashville where the last time they visited they shut out “Smashville” 3-0. Pekka Rinne was very good Monday night against the Hawks and will need more of the same if the Predators want to reach the post season. Nashville is in a log jam hanging out in the 11th spot but only 2 points away from the 8th seed. The Hawks have outplayed them 5 periods to 1 and only some careless play by Corey Crawford gave them any life at all. Sunday night the same two teams meet again at the United Center and hopefully it will be the last we see of the men in Yellow. The Predators are tough to watch it’s a shame they don’t play like they did in the third period all the time which was aggressive and watchable!
The trade deadline happens before any of these games are played with the possible return of Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp thrown in so it should be a very exciting week until the games start against these defensive teams.
What is your prediction for this weeks slate of games?
For more Blackhawks conversation follow us on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up or friend us on Facebook at Blackhawk Up.